RQ: Utopia, Book II
Keep the following questions in mind as you read Thomas More’s Utopia, Book II. Please note that the page numbers below correspond to the Norton print edition of Utopia. The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.
What does Utopia look like? (31)
Where did Utopia get its name? What does this story of origin tell us about Utopia? How is the settling of the once uncouth Utopians a mythological story of origin? What does it say about how the Utopians think about liberty or race?
How does the balance between the central government and the rural areas and cities work?
Are there really very few laws?
What occupation does everyone have to learn?
What are the clothes like?
Why aren’t commodities scarce due to the short workday?
What do the Utopians do to devalue gold, silver and precious metals?
Describe the way population is shifted through households…
What rules govern traveling? Why do you think the utopians have such high anxiety over travel inside the boundaries of the nation?
How does education impact/influence behavior in Utopia? What do the Utopians study and in what language?
Who can become a slave in Utopia? What jobs to slaves do? (59)
How are the sick cared for? How are dying people cared for? Do any details in the care of the sick and dying surprise you? (60)
How does the following fit into the debate about the duty of serving the state: “Since the welfare or ruin of a commonwealth depends wholly on the character of the official, where could thy make a more prudent choice than among Utopians, who cannot be tempted by money?” (64).
Is it a paradox that a society which professes to disdain glory in war “…carries on vigorous military training, so they will be fit to fight should the need arise”? (66).
What do some of the people in Utopia worship?
What do the wisest people worship? What are some characteristics of this entity? (73)
Even though the sects differ, in what do they all believe?
What is the only religious position Utopians do not allow or respect? What is the danger of such beliefs? How are atheists treated?
What do people who “…err in the opposite direction…” believe and how are they treated? (75)
What are some Utopian burial practices? (75-6)
What are some of their religious practices or rights?
According to Utopians, what happens to people after they die? “…and thus they believe the dead come frequently among the living, to observe their words and actions” (76).
How does More respond to Raphael’s dialogue? Is he convinced that Utopia is the greatest country in the world? Doe he think Utopian practices could be applied in England?